The lives of our alumni are filled with tragedies and triumphs that could be the subject of any riveting play or movie. This is no less true of Gloria Basulto.
Act I: I Don’t Care.
That was Gloria’s state of mind at age 12 when she first entered juvenile hall. Angry at everything and everyone, her prime teenage years were spent lashing out through physical confrontation. She fought students, teachers and anyone else that didn’t move fast enough off her path of self-destruction. The end result was six years spent in and out of detention. Gloria identifies the seed of her wrath and self-sabotage without hesitation: being bullied. When her anger finally exploded, her life exploded right along with it.
Act II: Not Coming Back.
At age 18, Gloria was released from detention and off probation. A final fight that could have cost her more time made her realize that she wanted her life back. Yet being free did not mean life was easy. Gloria found herself in a co-dependent relationship that was toxic and eventually abusive. Her life in turmoil, she made a courageous and smart decision; she left him. Gloria did so with the full support of her IOW teacher, Jesse Bliss. Back in Act I of her life, she’d participated in InsideOUT Writers classes and loved them. At first, Gloria attended classes to get out of her room and get a snack, but she found herself returning week after week for the writing and the maternal care and guidance that Jesse provided — something that had always been missing from her life. Gloria’s release coincided with IOW’s expansion of programs and services for alumni. She found a family of fellow alums who were also in a tumultuous Act II of their own lives. Her only goal at the time was to stay out of jail.
Act III: Overwhelmed, But Determined.
Gloria is no stranger to being overwhelmed, but today, it’s from managing adult responsibilities. She’s a full-time student at Santa Monica College while taking care of her elderly father and running their shared household. She also juggles leadership roles for several organizations. In addition to being on the IOW Alumni Advisory Board, Gloria has served as a spokesperson in fundraising campaigns and donor conferences. She was also featured prominently in IOW’s promo video. Beyond IOW, she volunteers with the Anti-Recidivism Coalition and the Harold Robinson Foundation. She regularly recites her work at Da Poetry Lounge and participates in 20 to 40 mile bike rides with the cycling group, Midnight Riders.
A decade removed from being a bullied 11-year-old, Gloria is now a 21-year-old young lady who is building her self-confidence and an incredible life for herself. Because her story is not a play, but her real life, she has many more acts to go and IOW is honored and proud to support her every step of the way.